My Life in the Fat Lane

fatBy Carol Lynn Langdon

Nothing about me matters — except how I look.

I’m plus size.

I have big boobs and a tummy, thunder thighs and a humongous ass. Seats are almost always too small for my butt.

Still, I do yoga and sports. I like doing my hair and makeup and being flirty. Or doing dirty work or drinking disgusting beer. I also love kids. My friends would call me a sweetheart, a completely honest and wholesome friend.

But few try to get to know the real me. 

People lump me into a category that I don’t fit into — no pun intended. I’ve been called fat and lazy my whole life. As though those are the only two traits I possess.

But I am neither. I do sports, yoga and dirty work, after all.

If anything’s lazy it’s my thyroid, which doesn’t work right.

In a piece called “Love Your Fat Self” a woman named Gareth is described as intelligent, witty and beautiful. But plus sized:

On paper, she is the perfect girl. To the ignorant, naked eye, she is flawed.

And a lot of people want me to think I’m flawed.

One summer a friend and I spent countless hours in a video chat room called Chatroulette, where you meet people from all around the world. But being plus sized next to a beautiful, spunky redhead doesn’t get you much positive attention. Men would say “ew” and call me “fat” and “ugly.”

Geez, I can get that just walking down a nearby street.

Or at work.

In fact, when I worked at a plus sized clothing shop I hid from the door because I didn’t want anyone to think, “Oh, the fat chick works at a fat chick clothing store.”

And my ex called me “fat ass.” That’s why he’s my ex.

Fat isn't who I am

Fat isn’t who I am

I developed an eating disorder after that bad relationship. I never had a real meal for four months — but I only gained weight.

Women who are teased about their size often develop eating disorders, so I’m not alone.

But while plus size women are put down, plus size men may be seen as stronger, more confident, intimidating and even more independent.

Why do people inflict abuse on each other? Why does my pain give them pleasure?

Everyday I wonder: Why should it matter?

My weight is not me.

This was written by one of my students who gave me permission to post it on my blog.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on April 29, 2015, in body image, feminism, psychology, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 92 Comments.

  1. I’ve seen a lot of articles and social media campaigns cropping up recently about “fatphobia.” I’ve also seen far more criticism of it than advocacy for it. People (mostly white, socioeconomically privileged men) love to say that the movement “glorifies obesity” and imply that the existence of plus-size people with influence and the ability for overweight people to finally have clothes that fit them will encourage more people to be fat. I think the fat acceptance movement is only advocating for fat people to be accepted in society, not be discriminated against for their size, and get medical care that is not disrupted by their size. These aren’t radical requests – fat people just want to be accepted like everybody else.
    My criticism of this movement is different from the classic Fat-People-Bad approach. I think the movement is unnecessary because I think fat-acceptance should be part of the feminist movement, not its own idea. I think fatphobia is not a new kind of discrimination, but rather a displaced kind of misogyny. Women are primarily affected by fatphobia and the discrimination they experience is based on misogyny. Female bodies are more apt to gaining and keeping on fat. Instead of celebrating this and celebrating female bodies, they are shamed and told to lose this weight in order to conform – which is textbook misogyny.

    • Feminists are concerned with fat phobia. It is part of our overall concern. And I agree that women are more affected than men. But I’m fine with any group advocating for greater love and acceptance for everyone. Feminists don’t need to be the only ones out there sharing the love.

  2. How many of you have had this experience? You attend a high school reunion, which is in effect a demand for your résumé for the last few decades. Some women will have done some fantastic things. They could have smashed the glass ceiling, produced an award winning documentary, raised children that are good citizens, created non-profit groups or headed international agencies that are making a difference in the world, they entered politics, they climbed Mount You Name It you get the picture. And someone will invariably point out her one ‘faiing’. “Shame, she’s still fat.” Somehow that one aspect of you can eliminate all of your accomplishments in one instant. And people wonder why some of their favourite people in high school don’t show for the reunion, preferring to skip the judgement altogether, especially if their weight was made an issue of during high school.

    Another observation I have made is that if you are attractive to any degree, the more you are picked on. It’s rubbed in your face even more that you are not toeing the line. “So and so thinks you would be so gorgeous if you just lost weight.” So that makes the woman chopped liver presently?

    I learnt the truth quite early in life. At age 11 I left grade seven with a crush on a boy. When grade eight began, he had no time for me. I was hurt and confused. I finally got to the bottom of it, and not from the boy in question. One of his friends told me he did not like me any more because I had gained weight over the summer. Yes indeed, I had my first menses that July. What was I thinking? Now you have to understand how minimal that weight gain was. But the message was loud and clear “She’s too fat for me!” A message that was echoed for decades to come. Fat is an albatross in our society. Plain and simple.

    • That experience is unfortunately way too common. And it’s so ridiculous because it’s such a superficial thing. A lot of us miss out, regardless of which side we are on, and I mean really missing out! Hopefully we will start questioning and thinking in new ways. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this.

  3. I found that, being chubby, I was not upset about the way I looked. I genuinely felt that everyone had their own body type, and this was just mine. It wasn’t until I got sick and lost a large amount of weight in a short amount of time, that I began to feel the pressure. I felt that I had to stay thin and keep up the appearance I now owned. In some ways I wish I could go back to being larger, just so I could escape the constant pressure to stay thin I experience now.

  4. After reading this article, I feel very sorry for the author’s experience. And I always believe what you look is not who you are. Sometimes, body shape could lead people to do wrong judgment. For some people, diet does not work. Maybe sport does not work, either. Just like the writer. From her article, I could know that she is a good girl. I also have a friend who has chubby body, and she is a good girl. Some people who do not know her well usually judge her chubby body. She feels upset for that sometimes as well. But I think that the more important thing is that there would be somebody who knows her well to encourage her. For the chubby girl, the body is just a part of you, but it could not be able to represent who you are.

  5. In my country, Japan, women tend to think a lot (sometimes too much) about their body. Even though they are already skinny, they try not to eat too much and avoid eating oil foods. When I was in high school, one of my classmates had a eating disorder because as I heard, she felt that she looked like a chubby girl when she was walking with her best friend who was really skinny and she hated it. After she rested for a month at home, I saw that she was really skinny. I cannot express how skinny she became. She looked really pail, and she just had skin and bones. Also, during lunch time, when she smelled food, she tried to throw up. I heard that she needed at least two years to gain weight.
    I think that women really care about their body to be “hot girl” or to be popular and they sometimes try too hard to lose weight. However, when they dont notice a line that they should stop losing weight, they might have eating disorders, which could be eating too much or couldn’t be eating at all. People are easy to find how others look by their eyes, but at least, after reading this article, I felt that people should be careful what they say, especially to women about their body. It might lead them disorders.

  6. Why should it matter?
    It shouldn’t. But it’s so hard, for exactly one hundred years, asian women are labelled as petite. I am so afraid of gaining the holiday weight, so afraid of telling people the numbers on my scale and so afraid that society will not deemed me beautiful because I am bigger than the average people my age. People do not believe in medical conditions that can really causes one to be heavier because media has such a big influence in their life. There was this popular Chinese movie when I was younger where the woman fell into a deep depression after seeing her boyfriend cheated on her that she binged eat her way through the aftermath and gained 200 pounds in the end. The movie has created such lasting effect on me through my entire adolescent years because I was afraid of ending up like her, I was never enjoying food. Nobody taught me that there are medical conditions like anorexia much less, thyroid. It is crazy that there is so much program out there advertising slimming vitamins and crazy diets that nobody stop to think about creating a program to get fit and be happy. People are taught to shame themselves because their idols have unattainable body and tv shows include only skinny people. But people are not taught to love their body, to be aware and confident that size do not matter. So I am sorry for you, Carol.

  7. It is ridiculous the way media and society, but mostly media I think, make females of all ages resent and hate themselves once they cross over into that overweight part on the medical charts. Well at least that’s more like what it should be. For a lot of females it’s when they start to get the slightest tummy, or their thighs get thicker than a couple inches. There have been PLENTY of times when I’ve been trying on jeans or a dress at the mall, and just hated my body, namely my thighs, my muffin top and my upper arms. It is especially hard to be “fat” when every item of clothing is either see-through, or Abercrombie & Fitch skinny. I’m lucky and grateful to have a boyfriend who loves my body no matter what it looks like. I still totally feel the push to work out so much that I get to a size 8, but I honestly feel great when I get a flat stomach and size 10 jeans (and I’ve gotten to that point before.) All you can do is advocate self body-love and hope for the best. Protesting and changing media’s look for women wouldn’t hurt, either. Beauty pageants have their major faults, too. Beside from being crazy obnoxious and making mothers all over insane and deranged, they instill in young girls the price and acceptance of beauty and thinness and give mothers and other females elders the excuse to put down girls and tell them what they don’t need to hear if they are to learn to be accepting of their body.

  8. I think you might like reading this article. I came upon it on yahoo, it’s from huffington post. But it’s about a woman’s personal thought and dealing with body image and what women deal with as well as how casual comments can hurt women.

  9. In this modern era, we live under others’ view and media. Media always show that slim is the best beauty-appreciation in nowadays. I really like how Carol Lynn Langdon says “My weight is not me.” After reading this short story, it reminded me of my sister. Her weight was 180 lbs when she was in high school. The summer after she graduated from high school, she made up her mind to lose her weight. At first we didn’t know why she wanted to be slim longingly. However, she didn’t tell us her until she lost her weight successfully. The night before her college started, we saw her stood in front of the mirror and said to herself: no more suffering! My mom worried about her and asked her the reason. She finally told us that she had been called as a “fat pig monster” during the period of her high school. We were angry after knowing the fact. Is it wrong to be fat? I don’t think so! Everyone has their own body and no one can judge them. If I read this article earlier, I would like to share it with my sister. Everybody should be confident in themselves. I know it is hard to be confident in this day and age because there are many environmental effects surrounding us, such as those retouched figures on advertisements. I hope that all of this can be improved, which needs the society’s constant progress and people’s thoughts are cultivated. When the prejudice against women disappears completely, everything will be much more harmonious than now.

  10. There was a lot of ideas posted on here, most about how body image is harshly judged and often times the only factor in judging a person.

    I agree with these comments that we should not judge a person based on their body imagine, or even judge them at all. Every human deserves equal treatment no matter what.

    I also find it awful how sexualized women are in our society. As a male I never need to worry to much about how I look, that I will be “worthless” if I become overweight, etc. Women should be allowed to look however they want without getting hazed by society.

  11. Tze Ping Chan

    We value too much on others’ appearance these days. People with a pretty face or a fine body are always being excused. Since they have got the “outside”, we should expect less for the “inside”. It is not morally wrong to think in this way, but it is just not right. We are all equal, at least we should be. We should not give people privilege based on their appearance.
    Although men are also suffering under this mindset, women are the one who suffer the most. Women are portrayed as someone who should be pretty, skinny, and elegant at the same time. They are bounded by these rules for their whole life, and many of them suffer because they think they are not up to standard. Other people, especially men, always use a woman’s appearance to attack her when they are not in a good position, or it maybe just for fun. But this behavior becomes something that affects people’s mental and physical health, and we should definitely pay attention to it. Like what have mentioned above, people may get eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. We should never see this as something normal and natural.

  12. It is so disheartening to read a story like this. You would hope that people have progressed more than that, especially in this modern era. Why are people so rude and disrespectful? I love how the author says “my weight is not me.” It is so true. Just because your body looks a certain way does not mean you should be generalized and stereotyped. Being confident is hard for women in this day and age. No one should be characterized by their weight. There is so much pressure from all angles such as relationships, media, society, to be skinny that it becomes impossible to ignore. Beauty standards today are so critical and one-sided. If an individual is happy, why should their appearance affect other people? It is said that, “life is definitely easier (or seems easier) for beautiful women.” After reading this poor woman’s experience, I am starting to agree with that statement. It cannot be easy having people say inappropriate, hurtful things. Some people are ignorant of the difficulties overweight people struggle with. The pressure to be thin and the expectation of being thin is getting out of control. When will it stop? When will people be satisfied and happy with their appearance. Extreme dieting and workout can only do so much. It takes inner peace with oneself to actually be happy. Can that be accomplished with media constantly surrounding us? Thank you for sharing your experience; I admire your strength.

  13. I have a cousin who is bright, funny, very pretty and determined. She’s a great person all around but her only problem that she deals with on a daily is her weight. She weighs roughly about 210lbs. You would never guess that was her weight because even though that may sound heavy, she doesn’t look it. She stands 5’3” and has been heavy set all her life. Maybe it’s genetics? She devotes herself to go to the gym everyday and also runs marathons on her free time. I think the problem comes from home, her parents and sibling constantly call her fat, and she is always hearing negative things being said about her. You can tell she has a low self esteem and hearing that stuff doesn’t necessarily help. Her friends aren’t the greatest influence either, they are always getting her in embarrassing situations because they think it’s acceptable. Acceptable because she made it that way to fit in. She also has a very bad eating diet. Fast food on the regular in extra big portions. She is however on the Weight Watchers plan but for some reason I’m not sure where she goes wrong. I feel bad for her because I know that she has been struggling with this all her life and the only way I can help her is with a helping hand to guide her to a more healthier lifestyle. She has all the resources there but maybe not know how to combine everything together? I’m trying to be a positive and motivational person in her life that will push her to succeed in what she wants most.
    I don’t understand how some people can be mean and cruel to others who are over weight. I don’t get why people can’t do something positive and actually help those in need out. They say don’t judge a book by its cover and its very true, for all anyone knows, people who are over weight might be battling a genetic disease, or has some kind of medical issue, maybe something simple like just giving birth. Whatever it may be, people need to be a little more sensitive when it comes to judging.
    I had a boyfriend who would constantly call me fat, I stand 5’4” at 130lbs. The average height and weight combo. I never believed I was fat, I always saw myself skinny, so for him to use that word on my was shocking. I may not have a toned, athletic body, but I was healthy. I think people nowadays get really caught up in this ideal image of what skinny is. It’s pretty crazy that if a person doesn’t look a certain way, you’re considered fat right away even though you’re not. I hope one day people will realize how shallow they are for treating people unfairly. I always say karma will eventually get them and usually it’s always true in the end. Maybe one day they’ll now what it feels like to be called fat.

  14. I believe that it is society that is corrupting peoples minds. There are certain looks to attain, and if somebody doesn’t have that look, they are out of norm. An example is overweight people. In America, where the ideal body type is slim/ slender, people who are on the bigger side tend to think that there body is not ideal. But if you go and do fieldwork on another societies ideal body, such as Samoa, you would see that there ideal body is somewhat on the bigger side. If people were to live in a society that was not influenced on media, there would be no sort of ideal body, thus people’s insecurities, of being overweight drops.

  15. I know exactly what it feels like for people to try and make you feel like I’m so flawed that I should be ashamed of myself. I, fortunately, haven’t had to deal with too many people blatantly calling me fat or being totally disrespectful, but the subliminal messages and the covert jabs are enough to drive me nuts! The few people that have actually commented on my size, try to say it in a “I care about your health” type of tone, but I can read in between the lines very well. My issue isn’t what they say, but more so that I didn’t ask. Very few plus size people go around asking for comments about the size. I’m sure they are very aware of it. When it’s offered up, in many cases it tends to be more judgmental than constructive. That’s not helpful at all.

  16. Stephanie Arevalo

    People can be so rude. I do not know if they neccecerally mean too. They might just do it unconsciously and not really thinking about it. Which is also pretty messed up if you think about it. I know it may be hard… it really might be but you kind of just have to not really care what any other person has to say about you. Just be confident and enjoy the life you have been given. Once you do that I will guarantee you will be so much happier. Honestly all that should matter is your happiness and your health. If you keep doing what you are doing and are healthy then it should not matter to others because they may be skinny and think they are so much better then a thicker person and it may not even be true. That person may not be healthy. They may be eating a lot of junk food, and being lazy when the same thicker person may be fatter then them but they in fact are eating better and exercising way more then the skinny person. About the eating disorder, I hope you do not let it control your life and have tried to get some help. That is not a way anyone should be living their life, and it will have a huge impact on you not feeling well about yourself. You liking/ feeling great about yourself is way more important then anyone else liking you!

  17. Christine Cortez

    I believe women should always feel confident in their own skin. 60 years ago, women were idolized for being what we now consider plus size. It wasn’t that they were “fat” they were at a normal healthy weight. Marilyn Monroe is one of the most iconic women in Hollywood that many women and men find her beautiful. What a lot of women don’t know is that she was a size 12. If she were to live in today’s society she most likely would not be socially accepted because of her weight. It’s a shame because over the last century we have precieved being beautiful as being skinny when we should feel confident in our own skin and empower women to do so. We are all born with differnt body frames which can also affect our confidence. Someone who is 5″9 and 150 lbs can look completely different then a women who is the same weight but a differnt height. Our culture is what has shaped our minds into believing what is beautiful and what isn’t.

    • @Christine Cortez…you made some good points, but Marilyn Monroe was NOT a size 12.
      That is a myth that has been going around for years. She would be the equivalent of a size 4 in today’s world.
      A lot of people mistakenly believe that she was “plus size” because of this myth, and because they see pictures where her figure looked a bit more rounded at times.

      The truth is that she was actually petite with a small frame. Slender with nice curves in all the right places.
      I think it would be better for women who are large or “plus size” to find role models who actually look like them, instead of Marilyn.
      People like Queen Latifah (who has always been a big woman and is beautiful, in addition to being smart and talented) or Kelly Clarkson or Melissa McCarthy or any of the larger actresses/models today.

  18. As a woman who has battled weight problems her whole life, this article really speaks to me. Fat shaming is a real and pervasive problem in our culture, and it is often disguised as people trying to “help” or encourage people to lose weight. There are entire website devoted to fat shaming and articles written about why it’s okay to do it because “we’re just worried about their health.” This is a particular problem for women, whose bodies are already policed no matter what they do. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter what others think, but when it’s that pervasive in the culture, women can’t help but absorb it. This has been a recent discussion in a lot of feminist forms, and I think it’s a cause that need to be addressed. Fat shaming does not in any way help “fat” women (or men). It just makes life that much more difficult for them.

    • Thanks for bringing up that points about how fat shaming can be disguised as helping. It really doesn’t help. And probably has the opposite effect.

  19. It is never ok in my eyes to automatically judged someone because of weight. I feel that when people make disrespectful comments and name call it is from their own insecurities and this is a way for them to deflect from their own misery. There is no such thing as a perfection, our culture is chasing a pipe dream. You have to honestly find happiness within yourself and love what was naturally given to you. It is always god to live a healthy lifestyle, but we all must come to the realization that everybody has different body types, and different backgrounds.

  20. Personally I don’t see a plus size man as a strong and independent but I know a lot of people do. This is totally unfair and I’m glad I don’t support these kinds of thoughts. Our weight shouldn’t define us. In high school, I had a similar experience where I was bullied because of my appearance. I was too skinny; the thinnest girl in the class and my classmates always came up with stupid nicknames for me. It was so frustrating mostly because I was in a stage of my life in which I was developing my character, and those mean comments put me down. I was always trying to eat everything I could to gain weight but it didn’t work out. Today I changed my mind about it and I respect my genetic. I still don’t know why our weight has such an importance in life. For me, it doesn’t matter as long as we are happy with ourselves.

  21. I feel like now a days people are taught to look a certain way and if your not then your fat or anorexic. But in realty a lot of beautiful woman that you see in magazines or movies have so much makeup or plastic surgery done just to look a certain way. When I started high school I was 100 pounds an everyone would ask me how I could eat fast food everyday and still stay the same weigh. Then I would tell them that I had a really high metabolism and I had trouble gaining weight. Some people would even tell me they were shocked because they thought I was Bulimic and once the got to know me they changed really knew why I was so skinny. Today in society we are taught to judge people based on looks and not by actually getting to know that person. I personally have friends that are over weight and once I actually took the time to get to know them I fell in love with there personality an found out everything I assumed was actually wrong.

  22. Personally, I don’t think it is only just females are being put down for being overweight. As far as I know, males would be teased for being fat as much too. Ideally, we would want a world that do not judge people based on their body size, however it is a judgmental world.

    Fortunately though, I feel that people who call others names for being overweight are the people with insecurities, they want to make themselves feel better. Therefore no one should feel bad about their body size because of what people say about them. After all, it is true that appearance is not everything. Take for example Megan Fox, She is obviously “hot” but the last time I heard from friends who read magazines all the time that those who really know her personally, kind of dislike her due to her bad personality. Everyone should just hang around people who appreciates them for who they are. Leave the plastic friends.

    • You are right that men can also be put down for being overweight. They just have to be a lot more overweight than women. I know a lot of guys who are overweight and think they are just perfect, Whereas a girl can be slightly overweight and be told that she is too fat.

  23. Hiroka Nakamura

    Nobody is perfect and even models usually have this kind of problem. On of my friends is a model and she told me that her weight on magazines or websites are heavier than her real weight because models don’t everyone to think they are too skinny or unhealthy so they tell medias heavier weight. Of course being in shape is always good and healthy, but the important thing is to be confident in their bodies no matter what sizes we are. I know it’s hard to like something we don’t like about ourselves but some girls want to have big boobs or bigger butt but they can’t. Also a lot of people don’t even realize but there’s always something they can be proud of themselves.

  24. That’s an interesting topic. When I read the article, as much as I can relate to the lady, I giggled :). She must also have a high sense of humor. Well, in my culture, we have a stereo type that fat people are funny and have a kind heart. Second, yes I do agree that being fat makes people assume that the person is lazy. I personally had to see a nutrition 4 years ago because I had a problem with my hormones. In the process, I lost so much weight, which technically proved that the problem wasn’t caused by my hormones. However, I still face the problem of being fat, to the point that I literally stopped caring not just about what people think of that, but also health wise, which is wrong. And since I have 0 interest in fashion and brands that I don’t think I will ever be spending that much on, let alone not affording to buy them 🙂

    P.S one of my roommates used to work for a very famous and expensive brand, and she told me that the brand she worked for didn’t carry sizes of XL, but then after lots of complains, they started to sell the size of XL but with a trick. The factory would produce Size XS as small and small as Medium, and medium as Large, and Large as XL. So for someone whose size is XL, good luck because it wont fit them, and so on for each size. And the reason why they did this, is because they didn’t want their cloth to be worn by fat people because it wont look good on them, and its not “presentable.”

  25. Never have fully understood the obsession on weight, although part of it may be being a man it never really was an issue, as not only is there less emphasis on the weight of men, but men have the bizarre notion that they are attractive regardless of the mustard down the front of their shirt, stubble on their face and unkept hair due to not showering in the past few days 🙂

    With women, and growing up with sister, I did get a look at that side of growing up, but it was still tough to understand. It does seem that the full-figured woman is back in style…and the waif look is out, and just that fact alone makes me think how your statement is so true for women throughout time “my weight is not me”

  26. I have to first give kudos to Carol for sharing her experiences with us all. I am sure it wasn’t easy. It is disappointing to hear and see people bash others who don’t look the norm. In society’s eyes there has always been a certain way a woman is supposed to look,and act. In today’s generation the perfect physique, tanned skin, long hair, million dollar smile are all features of what a woman should possess. However, beautiful comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We all have different stories. Carol has a thyroid problem that slows her ability to lose weight. Even though she participates in physical activity. Sadly, judgement is solely made on the outer appearance, and the inner rarely gets a chance. Recently, I have been seeing more publicity on plus size models, and large clothing companies coming under scrutiny over their lack of offering plus sizes, or not having plus size models. However, it is a long way to go, for the insensitive remarks to stop. Individuals don’t like when they are pointed out because of their skin color, racial background, or some other flaw. So why is it okay to make fun of someone who weighs more than you? All these topics are one in the same, and they typically aren’t something that is under our control. Weight is a sensitive topic, and I am sure many people who battle with their weight have a story, and it isn’t just because they are lazy. And even if they choose to not do anything about their weight, that is not anyone’s business except their own. Let them live.

    • “beautiful comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors”

      Yes, indeed!

    • @KP…I agree with most of what you said. You made some very good points. However, when you brought race into it (and unintentionally lumped racial background in with having a “flaw”) that is where I disagree.

      People can’t help the race or culture they are born into. Weight, on the other hand, is something that can be changed unless a person has some health issue that prevents them from losing weight.
      Not to mention that I have known quite a few fat people who are extremely racist, yet they want others to be nice and not say anything about their size…seems hypocritical.

  27. I think that women are looking up to media and how the media explains that girls should be and women are suppose to be perfect and beautiful with a beautiful body, on other hand you see in the ads men in suits where they look very powerful, smart and strong. You don’t see any ads where the men are shown as an object or where they’re not strong and powerful. One of the many negative effects that the media has in society is the problem of body image. This body image which is a standard that the media sets for people to live up to can have very harmful effects to the people who actually try to follow it. If the Media didn’t show girls on TV to be super skinny, and then I’m sure that girls wouldn’t have to struggle with the problem of trying to fit in and being super skinny. Media can also portray people in negative ways.

  28. Torena Joseph

    Calling someone fat, or making fun of someone because of their size is NEVER o.k!! My best friend is heavy set or like most like to call it “big boned”. She is a big inspiration in many peoples lives, and loves herself and her size. She has also worked at the well-known store named “Torrid” and did this well. With such poise and confidence, not worrying about what people may think.

    I think that when people have insecurities about their body size and looks, it shows and people enjoy playing off those insecurities. All we as people can do is embrace our looks and differences. I think it is very wonderful that you do yoga and try to stay healthy. Not because of other peoples opinions, but more so for yourself, to make YOU feel good.

    I am very slim, or like most like to call it “Skinny”, it bothers me as well! I have heard things like, “skinny bone Jones” and “you need to eat” etc etc. This is not just a society that looks down on people with a little more weight. It seems that if you don’t have the right size bust, butt or height, your going to get made fun of in some type of way. All we all can do is love ourselves. Everyone is going to see someone with something, or a feature they don’t have. It’s what makes us all different. After all if we were all the same size and look, the world would probably be pretty boring right

    We just need to reach deep inside ourselves and bring out our inner glam! Own it and work it hunny, Because at the end of the day your looks don’t define you nor your intelligence

  29. According to the National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), “Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.” and, “Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness”. This is the sad truth of our world.

    When we look at ourselves and say either, “God… I’m too skinny, I wish I had curves,” or “God.. I’m so fat, I wish my legs didn’t ‘touch,’” what we are doing is determining our own value based on a comparison to the often unnatural and unattainable appearances of other people. Our own voices and the voices of others define who we are based off of how we look in contrast to how others look. Carol, you are absolutely right. You’re weight is not you.

    Society’s obsession with sex appeal, beauty, appearance, and the force of media sources that are heavily influenced by marketing tactics, absolutely ruin lives. It disturbs me that what we look like is prioritized over what kind of person we are intellectually, emotionally, or morally.

    The influence of deplorable societal norms, the voices and actions of others, as well as our own insecurities, heighten vulnerability while destroying self confidence. Society is in need of major paradigm reforms.

    When I read your comment, “Why do people inflict abuse on each other?” I thought of how in today’s era of social media, this reality has been exacerbated. Everyday, millions of people get online, hide behind a screen and attack others. This really shows us what humankind is capable of. People write hurtful posts, leave rude comments, and send unforgivable messages- all without consideration for the feelings, emotions, and thoughts of the recipient.
    The link below is of Aya De Leon’s, “Cellulite”. It is a slam poetry performance and relevant to this discussion. I really hope everyone who reads this watches this incredible and short (only a minute and forty-five seconds) video. De Leon is a beautiful soul who embodies empowerment, self confidence, and what’s right in the world.

  30. It baffles me that so many people can be so insensitive and cruel. I too have always been plus size and I am lucky to have grown up not having been bullied or called names. I know I probably get stares or people comment in their head. I used to be very quiet and insecure about myself, but as I have grown and matured, I realize that even if I am plus size, that doesn’t mean I don’t get to be confident or live my life the way I deserve. I should be able to do anything I set my mind to and not be held back by what others think I am or am not capable of.

    I too was an athlete and played soccer until my junior year of high school. I loved sports and was still always plus size. I wish that people understood that being plus size does not mean that you are unhealthy or sit around on the couch all day. I also wish that people realized that staring or their “quite” comments are not productive.

    I really like what you said at the end that “my weight is not me”, because it is completely accurate. We should support one another no matter what we look like and as cheesy as it is, it is what is on the inside that counts because even if you are the most gorgeous runway model, if you have a nasty attitude and personality, no one is going to want to work with you. Who you are as a person says a lot more than what you look like or what you wear.

  31. The society always tells us that being skinny or thin is beautiful. And some people like me who aren’t that skinny (but probably not fat) are suffering from being called fat such as”fatty”, “fat ass” or some other words. In fact, it should not be like this. I think the society should change! Being fat or not being skinny isn’t a crime. No matter men or women, the way society criticize fat really make people feel uncomfortable. Actually this article makes me remember a commercial I saw. The commercial was showing they aren’t angle(sexy body) but they can still feel confident. So, I think no matter who can be more confident even when they are not perfect.

  32. Peter Schmetz

    To whoever wrote this:
    I was a student athlete and today I am a professional athlete. Therefore I basically hung out with fit and athletic people my whole life. When I was younger it was very difficult for me to understand that not everyone is great in sports and always in shape. I used to make fun of “bigger” people especially in gym class. Nowadays I feel really bad for being so mean but at the same time I learned a lot from it. I was a teenager and it was a part of growing up. Soon I figured out that it is not always the people´s fault like in your case. Today I have a lot of friends who are overweight and I can just say that all of them are the nicest people I know. In addition I also learned to like bigger women instead of looking for the ideal model body. In conclusion I want to say that people might be mean to you but they maybe do not know any better and might change through there development in growing up and when they get to know you better. I bet you are very nice and I wish I could meet you and we could chat!
    I wish you all the best from Germany
    Peter Schmetz

    • I’m sure that Carol and many others will get a boost from your comment. Thanks!

      Sometimes we just have to grow up. And a lot of people have to get over their insecurities so that they can stop putting others down in hopes of bringing themselves up. There is hope!

  33. In today’s society being thin and fit is shoved down the throats of anyone who has access to the media. Even being a little bigger, but not necessarily plus sized, is still seen as fat. It’s one thing to personally want to stay fit and thin, but to push those beliefs onto other people is out of line. Everyone deserves to be comfortable in their own skin, but if they are shamed for how they look how could they possibly do that? The answer is they can’t. Society glorifies the fit and the thin, but portrays anything other than that as bad. This type of mentality forces a negative body image for anyone who isn’t the “ideal” size and can lead to eating disorders. People need to look beyond the body type when seeing someone and try harder to see them as a person with feelings and not just a body type. Just because someone is skinny does not make them a pleasant person to be around and another person who may be a bigger could be the nicest person you have ever met.

  34. The way people criticize a fat woman is really ridiculous. In our country, being extremely skinny with almost flat boobs and not-so-pampered ass, is also considered quite unattractive. You can never satisfy everyone with your looks and I think it’s not really needed at all. As Gareth has said, if someone is happy with her own self and active enough, that should be considered as rewarding enough.

    • I like that quote! And really, variety is the spice of life. Expecting all women to fit into one narrow perspective is so oppressive that it makes you wonder if it is some deliberate move to lower women self-esteem. Because most women can’t fit these narrow ideals.

  35. I’ve always been skinny until the last couple of years of my life. I totally understand and felt this blog when being perfect on paper and not in person was addressed. Though this whole blog was interesting and hit home all around, I first hand have witnessed both reactions and comments from society when I was skinny and over weight. Society norms view beautiful woman as being skinny not overweight and as stated above men have the double standard overweight means your strong or feared not ugly or dumb, but in all reality beauty is way more than skin deep. When I was skinnier I would get comments all day from my co workers, people I seen out in stores and even from family members. As I got heavier the comments stop coming even though I was the same person with the same personality. I didn’t really notice it until one day I was out and ran into an old colleague who had no shame in telling me that I use to be the hottest girl, what happen to me. This really upset me, because this made me question what others thought of me and if social norms have put me in the non attractive/dumb category. Women are compared and judged by this norms society has created and society is being hypnotized by all these norms and missing out on what really matters.

  36. “Well a fat woman wouldn’t Think of her body is sexy, either. If you took that video and put women in it people would probably be even more appalled by the fat woman.”

    Yeah but men can lust, or ogle, heavier women as long as not very fat. Whereas, women don’t visually swoon over fat men, like I said, whereas, men can visually enjoy bbw, the fact there’s a term shows the difference. There is not term for fat men like bbw, because fat men aren’t visually attractive as far as their body goes in a pure, visual body perspective.

  37. The last sentence is the important thing to remember: my weight is not me. I am not overweight, but am still never ever happy with my weight. I constantly struggle with body image issues and see my friends, no matter what size or weight or shape, doing the same thing. Over the past few months I’ve been trying to focus on that sentence. My weight does not define me. If someone chooses to not talk to me or not like me because of my weight that is not someone I want to be around. It is amazing to me how something so superficial, and many times depending on your genetic makeup uncontrollable, can be something that is expected to be always the same. Women’s bodies are beautiful in all shapes. And it is not only how they look, think about what a woman’s body can do! We can create a human being and provide for it as it grows. That is amazing and should be celebrated. The size of your jeans is a terrible metric to judge a person by. It is scary to me how acceptable it is for women to have eating disorders or even body image issues; it feels like it is becoming the norm for a girl to go through one or both of these issues. How is that ok? Women should be spending more time and effort improving themselves in other ways and focusing on the important things about themselves. I think the body image movements that are happening on Instagram (#loveyourlines for example) are pushing more women to be less self-conscious but I wish we would focus on other aspects of womenhood all together. Instead of talking about stretch marks lets talk about women’s minds, strengths, virtues. Our bodies should be celebrated for all that they can do, but we are so much more than that.

  38. Our society places too much emphasis on how women look. A pretty blonde is assumed to be dumb. A “fat” girl is assumed to be lazy. We need to stop operating under these stereotypes and acknowledge people for who they are, not who they “seem” to be. We need to stop assuming we know what everyone else goes through.

    Also, It is not right that we have to live in a media induced culture where there is such a narrow definition of what it means for women to be beautiful. Our tabloids, ads, models, and television is filled with images of women who all look the same. It is sad that we can’t appreciate the bodies of plus size women; that our media’s definition does not include images of curvier models.

  39. Really interesting article, and I think it could probably apply more to American culture perhaps simply because of the emphasis on cosmetics and fashion trends continue to profit economic growth in those areas. Nevertheless, when looking at oriental women, the number of morbidly obese women plummets, simply because of eating habits, and the cult of ‘female’ beauty simply does not bring as huge economic profit to these countries, and male and female roles have been much more defined for centuries, as opposed to those in the U.S.. Pornography in the orient was not a profit making business as it became in the U.S., on the contrary, they used “eroticism” and it is an art over there, not a huge industry.

  40. . “So women are willing to have male partners with a variety of body types. ”

    Yeah, but it’s because of them finding the “man” sexy, and more likely because of his personality and charm, thus finding the body, even if fat body sexy as a result. True male body isn’t sexualized or is less sexualized. While women are less particular about men’s bodies because of being less body focused, women still like to check out nice bodies from men. The different though, those ogly worthy, bodies women look at or like or what would get their attention as well as attractive from a purely visual stand point is actually more narrow than for men. Men find women of various body types and shapes sexy. While women will date men of various body types. The male body who get women to look at is the toned, fit male body, atheletic body, or even slim. A fat man’s body doesn’t ellcit that visual delight usually, whereas, a fit man can.

    That’s why you see movies, you don’t see women swooning over the fat man in the swimming trunks shirtless, but the Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, fit, chiseled like torso. You can say that seems to be true with me, but not so. You see men ogling the different of body types like a slend thing Taylor Swift, and then a thicker, some meat on her, Christina Hendricks whose body is definitely different from Taylor Swift. And even “heavy set” women can get attention if say wearing a bathing suit selectively, whether color or cut that hide her tummy or slims it and top that flaunts her boobs and butt, so her body is sexy still and beautiful despite it’s flaws. You don’t see that with fat men being shown as sexy or like I said women checking out fat men generally in public.

    Here’s a humorous clips from legendary Chris Farely. True it;s for comedy and is funny And I know how male stripping is seen as funny because its seen as feminine because men aren’t supposed to be sexy or try to be like that. But what stuck out to me is the reason it’s funny and silly is not because of the stripping so much and not simply because farely is being goofy, but because he’s fat, thus him trying to be sexy is “funny”. Because society realizes that a fat man is uneasthetically pleasing and not visually desirable, so it’s a mocking so to speak of a fat man’s sexiness and appeal. Is it not true that Chris Farely dancing to be sexy is much sillier than Swayze’s? And much of that is to do with Farley’s physique compared to swayze. Farley could be goofy and funny in samething, but it doesn’t create the humor of Farely is thin, or toned, etc. The “fatness” of farely gives his comedic act the humor and comedic power so to speak. Here’s the clip ;

    • It seems like a lot of guys wish that women sexualized the more. And a lot of women wish that guys sexualized and less. Sexy is great so long as it is one part of your whole self. But women face such narrow ideals that they don’t feel sexy even if they are. I’ll be writing more on this first part of my comment later. Actually, I’ll be posting a comment that I wrote to me.

      • Well I don;t think guy;s want it being all about their bodies like what women deal with, where it’s their value. Guy’s like having traits admired like talent, success, skill, intelligence, etc other than looks and body. But I think fat guys might like their bodies being seen as sexy themselves meaning women seeing the sexual appealingness for a heavier man shirtless and swoon over it say like in a movie. Women say they like men of different bodies, but it;s usually in the context of them liking the guy first or finding his personality sexy, therefore, they don;t mind or like the body even if fat that goes with said guy.

        I’m talking about separating the body from personality and simply visually admiring the body itselt. That doesn;t happen too often toward fat men. Like I said it can with fit slim men, like I said Chis Evans, Chris Hemsworth in movies. You don’t see women swooning over Kevin James shirtless ha even though he’s funny and charming. If he’s shirtless, it most likely will be for humor and he’ll probably be mocking himself just like chris farley did in the snl stripping skit.

      • Well a fat woman wouldn’t Think of her body is sexy, either. If you took that video and put women in it people would probably be even more appalled by the fat woman.

  41. The size and pounds are okay as long as you stay fit, and it is the same for women and men. The keenness for fitness will automatically extend to overall zest for living as productively as one’s faculties would stretch to, and that is the only thing matters, Georgia. I am sure you are doing that, as I can see it in your pic…best wishes..

  42. Thanks to Carol for sharing her story. It is horrible how people discriminate because of weight and here’s hoping that is something is slowly but surely changing too, with stories like this and people speaking out and against that kind of prejudice.

  43. CHUNKY = a delicious chocolate candy treat. “I’m not fat. I’m big boned.” OK, bloggers, here I am, morbidly obese: 256#, with BMI of 37.5. I have also shrunk two inches. Scary. I like that “it’s what you do.” So many are worried and concerned about my health and weight. Oftentimes it sounds like nagging/bashing. “When you weighed…forty years ago….” Drives me nuts!

    • “CHUNKY = a delicious chocolate candy treat”


      Once after gaining holiday weight I couldn’t lose it til I gave up and accepted the new me. I lost my food obsession and my weight!

  44. I don;t know about the fat guy thing. The reason russel crowe is not scrutinized for his fat body, is because it’s not his value as an actor. The other traits are looked at. All it means is that his body flaws are ignored more so, though not exactly found attractive or appreciated. People see fat Russsel Crowe and think “oh well”. But ask the same people how sexy his body looks and while some will find him sexy, it’s more so because he’s an actor so they find all of him sexy including his flawed body. Or he;s sexy “despite” his body. But ask someone that isn’t into russel crowe as an actor and ask if his body is sexy, and they probably will say it’s not.

    I’ll point it out this way. Fat women get more of the attention and shame, but women more women’s sizes can be appreciate than men too. There is such thing as bbw right? We’re seeing thicker and more plus sized women advertised and found sexy. You don’t see kevin james like men advertising men’s underwear ha. Heavier man can be found sexy if they are broad shoulder, chest and muscular too, like a husky athlete. But there are many fat men who are just fat, but don’t have the muscle with it. And while they might not get the shame, though I know plenty of guy;s who are self conscious about their weight, they also aren’t exactly found attractive like some heavier set women can be…

    • I think she’s right that overall women have it harder. I know a number of men who are overweight but don’t think they are — even insult overweight women. Normal weight women often think they’re too fat and feel bad about themselves.

      • Because they are either successful so their esteem is not tied into that, therefore, they don;t really care if their body is “sexy” and lucky for them, because if they do or put in a a position where they body is judged, they would not feel good or realize how unsexy their bodies are. There are bbws and women who are sexy from all shapes and sizes and men can see that and thicker women can be seen as sexy and desirable. Whereas, there isn’t a sexy male body if he’s fat or heavier, it only seems that it’s sexy, because the male body doesn’t matter much so fat body ignored. It doesn’t mean it’s because it’s sexier, but the opposite.

        Male body especially fat guys have such a low expectation because they are seen as less sexy, thus less judged, because not worth being admired or lusted for and if so it’s the toned, slim physique. Like I said, you don’t see ads with fat men or beaches where men with big guts are causing lust and glances, whereas, some heavier set women with nice curves can still get men’s attention.

      • The male body isn’t really sexualized and so women aren’t really that particular. Because they aren’t that body-focused. So women are willing to have male partners with a variety of body types. But probably not just for sex. More looking at relationships. Meanwhile, men are willing to have sex with women with a variety of body types. Maybe partners, too.

        But the thing is that if you separate the body type from sexuality, women are far more judged. And they personally feel judged whether they actually are or not. So women tend to have worse self-esteem with regard to their bodies, And their bodies are a bigger determiner of their self-esteem.


    I’ve never understood why it’s socially ok to comment on anyone’s body.? I will never get that. I think it shouldn’t be socially acceptable. Kind of like how asking someone about their income.. that’s private. Everyone’s measurements and body is different.

  46. It’s not how you look, it’s what you do. How engaged are you in the creative act of living. Emphasis on looks, or size, or poundage only take us away from the panoply of things we could be doing.

  47. Bashing someone for being “plus size” should never be ok, but I don’t necessarily agree that “plus size” men are seen as more independent or stronger. Just think of the male ideal today, which is usually portrayed as being quite fit and muscular.

    Also there’s one of more dimensions to “plus size”. One is bashing versus commenting on health related issues and the other dimension is “degrees” of “plus size”. Teasing some for having a few pounds extra is one thing but pointing out that someone is overweight to the extent of heightened risk of negative health impact is a different story. For example; whilst the plus size movement have indeed put a healthier body image on the agenda they have also been promoting unhealthy overweight in some cases. This does of course not imply that it’s somehow ok to bash anyone that’s severly overweight but on the other hand I don’t think it’s something that should be promoted. What I wish for the movement is to show -healthy- men and women in various sizes.

    • Maybe Carol will want to jump in here but I have noticed that she is often right. I was watching Russell Crowe the other day and he has gained a little weight. But I don’t think that it seems to be hurting him at all. But I also know guys who were pretty chunky but they just kind of look big and strongish. Not strong like a lot of muscles but you kind of don’t notice it.

      And on the other point, on the one hand there is a distinction to be made between bashing and concern for someone’s health. On the other hand, that concern when it is expressed isn’t necessarily helpful. people who are overweight know that they are and the pressure can just make things worse. I wrote a post ones on how I lost weight when I stop caring about the extra pounds I gained over the holidays. Because when you start worrying about your weight you can get obsessive about it. And then some people have thyroid problems, like Carol does, which limit your options. So the concern can just come across as criticism for something you don’t have a lot of control over.

      • As for guys getting comments for being overweight may of course be a cultural thing and different between the US and here, but in my experience overweight guys over here face the same problems concerning bashing and it doesn’t have to be a lot.

        I’m in no way promoting expression of other peoples obesity/health problems on a general level but I don’t necessarily agree that the plus size movement should actively promote it either. My opinion; be happy and healthy but don’t ignore obesity that may impose health problems!

      • Thanks for your thoughts.

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